COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Head coach Pablo Mastroeni confirmed what was obvious during Thursday morning’s practice: midfielder Dillon Serna and defender Chris Klute won’t play for the Colorado Rapids on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.
"Serna's an ankle sprain, and he's not going to be ready for this game,” Mastroeni told MLSsoccer.com. “We'll just reassess it early next week. And Klute, as well, won't be ready for this game. And we'll see where he's at [next week].”
Both players jogged off to the side during Thursday’s practice, the obvious giveaway that neither would be fit enough to participate against the defending MLS Cup champions for Saturday’s showdown at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (6 pm ET; MLS Live).
Both started in the season-opener against the New York Red Bulls. Klute suffered a hamstring strain in the second half of that game and will likely require a few more weeks before a possible mid-April return. Serna appears to be the closest to returning after spraining his ankle in practice last week.
“The guys that are stepping in for those guys have done a tremendous job, and that's been my focal point,” Mastroeni said.
The Rapids will likely turn to veterans Marc Burch and Vicente Sánchez to fill in once again for Klute and Serna, respectively. Burch has impressed, while Sánchez has scored two of the Rapids’ three goals this season (although all three goals have come from penalty kicks).
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Colorado will also be without Spanish midfielder José Mari, who received a second yellow card during the second half of Colorado’s 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers last Saturday. Depending on whether the Rapids want to go with more of an offensive or defensive look, they’ll turn to either Nathan Sturgis (offensive) or rookie Jared Watts (defensive) on Saturday, Mastroeni said.
“We looked at both options today, and I think we’ll talk about it overnight and let the guys know [Friday] morning,” Mastroeni said. “Either way we go, we feel comfortable as a group.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.